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professor remembers former student, bush

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=503181 SIMON W. VOZICK-LEVINSON, HARVARD CRIMSON - As the race for the White House heats up and the nation s
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 22, 2004
      http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=503181

      SIMON W. VOZICK-LEVINSON, HARVARD CRIMSON - As the
      race for the White
      House
      heats up and the nation's left-leaning heads come
      together to unearth
      potential skeletons in President Bush's closet, one
      line in his resume
      has
      avoided major scrutiny: the time Bush spent just
      across the Charles
      River,
      earning an MBA at the Harvard Business School (HBS) in
      the 1970s. Now,
      as
      some fervently question the commander-in-chief's
      performance in the
      Texas
      National Guard decades ago and more current-minded
      politicos take aim
      at the
      events surrounding Sept. 11, 2001 and the invasion of
      Iraq, one former
      HBS
      professor is doing his best to publicize his
      recollections of what he
      calls
      a sarcastic, mediocre student who went on to lead the
      United States.

      Yoshihiro Tsurumi, an avowed opponent of Bush's
      current views and
      policies
      who was a visiting associate professor of
      international business at HBS
      between 1972 and 1976, said Bush was among 85 students
      he taught one
      year in
      a required first-year course. In the class on
      "Environment Analysis for
      Management," incorporating elements of macroeconomics,
      industrial
      policy and
      international business, Tsurumi said students
      discussed and debated
      case
      studies for 90 minutes several times a week.

      Tsurumi�now a professor of international business at
      Baruch College in
      the
      City University of New York�said he remembers the
      future president as
      scoring in the bottom 10 percent of students in the
      class.

      Thirty years after teaching the class, Tsurumi said
      the
      twenty-something
      Bush's statements and behavior�"always very
      shallow"�still stand out in
      his
      mind.

      "Whenever [Bush] just bumped into me, he had some
      flippant statement to
      make," said Tsurumi when reached at his home in
      Scarsdale, N.Y. "The
      comments he made were revealing of his prejudice."

      The White House did not reply to requests for comment
      on Bush's time at
      HBS.

      Tsurumi said he particularly recalls Bush's right-wing
      extremism at the
      time, which he said was reflected in off-hand comments
      equating the New
      Deal
      of the 1930s with socialism and the
      corporation-regulating Securities
      and
      Exchange Commission with "an enemy of capitalism."

      "I vividly remember that he made a comment saying that
      people are poor
      because they're lazy," Tsurumi said.

      Tsurumi also said Bush displayed a sense of arrogance
      about his
      prominent
      family, including his father, former U.S. President
      George H.W. Bush.

      "[George W. Bush] didn't stand out as the most
      promising student,
      but...he
      made it sure we understood how well he was connected,"
      Tsurumi said.
      "He
      wasn't bashful about how he was being pushed upward by
      Dad's
      connections."

      Tsurumi said that the younger Bush boasted that his
      father's political
      string-pulling had gotten him to the top of the
      waiting list for the
      Texas
      National Guard instead of serving in Vietnam. When
      other students were
      frantically scrambling for summer jobs, Tsurumi said,
      Bush explained
      that he
      was planning instead for a visit to his father in
      Beijing, where the
      senior
      Bush was serving at the time as the special U.S. envoy
      to China.

      In addition, Tsurumi is still sore about what he
      recalls as Bush's
      slight to
      his cinematic taste. When he arranged for students to
      view the film of
      John
      Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath during their study of
      the Great
      Depression,
      Tsurumi said, Bush derided the film as "corny."
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